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Chicago Attractions and Things to See

Chicago is the biggest city in the state of Illinois, and the most populated city in the Midwest, as well as the third most populated city in the nation, after LA and NYC, founded in 1833, by a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed. It is a major hub for telecommunications, infrastructure and industry, with its O'Hare International Airport being the second busiest airport in the world, in terms of traffic movements. It is a great center for finance and business, and listed as one of the world's top ten global financial centers, as well as an "alpha world city". Forbes has named it the world's fifth most economically powerful cities, a stronghold of the Democratic Party and home to numerous influential politicians, that include the current President of the United States. Its various nicknames include; "the Windy City", the "City of Big Shoulder", "Chi-town" and "Second City". It has an outstanding history and diverse culture that would begin in the early 18th century, when the local Potawatomi, that had displaced the Fox, Sauk and Miami tribes that had lived there, and then the eventual arrival of the Europeans and white people. The city would become the most significant transportation center between the east and the west, enjoying some the fastest population growth in the world.

After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, it would enter into the biggest building boom in the history of the country, and one of the most significant events would be the relocation of a majority of the country's best architects from New England to Chicago for the construction of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition. The city is an architect's dreamland, with the first high-rise steel framed structure being built in 1885, and today, it has the country's two tallest buildings, the Willis Tower that used to be called the Sears Tower, and the Trump International Hotel and Tower. It has a wonderful number of historic structures that are sure to keep those that love architecture and beautiful buildings. It has the famous Chicago School and Prairie School that are bastions of architectural movements and Oak Park that had been the home of architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

The city has more than its share of spectacular entertainment, performing arts and art venues that include Second City and I. O., along with the Steppenwolf Theater company, the Goodman theater, Victory Gardens theater and many Broadway type entertainment at the city's many local theaters. Their classical music venues provide excellent fare and include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra that is recognized as one of the best in the world, the Civic Opera House, the Lithuanian Opera Company of Chicago, the Joffrey Ballet and Chicago Festival Ballet; as well as a multitude of blues, jazz, gospel and soul music that has been part of the city's cultural scene for many years. One of their most famous yearly festivals includes the Lollapalooza, the Pitchfork Music Festival and the Intonation Music Festival. It houses a fabulous fine art tradition and includes many outdoor works by well known artists like Chicago Picasso, Miro's Chicago, Flamingo and Flying Dragon by Alexander Calder, the Four Seasons mosaic by Marc Chagall, Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa, Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor, Monument with Standing Beast by Jean Dubuffet and Batcolumn by Claes Oldenburg.

During 2008, the city welcomed 32.4 million domestic leisure travelers, 1.3 million overseas visitors and 11.7 million domestic business travelers. Attracted by the upscale shopping by the Magnificent Mile and State Street, the city's outstanding architecture and its thousands of restaurants continue to bring huge crowds here every year. It is the third biggest convention destination, as well as containing many fantastic museums like the Alder Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, the amazing Shedd Aquarium and the incredible Field Museum of Natural History. Other impressive and significant museums include the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Chicago Oriental Institute, the Chicago History Museum, the Museum of Broadcast Communications, the Museum of Science and Industry, DuSable Museum of African American History, the Polish Museum of America, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

The city has 552 parks that sit on more than 7300 acres of municipal parklands and 33 sand beaches, 16 historic lagoons, 10 bird and wildlife gardens and two world class conservatories. The city's Lincoln Park welcomes more than 20 million visitors each year, covering 1200 acres and the biggest in the city.